Tag Archives: Bee Islets Growers Corporation

Oysters: Unsung climate heroes for your holiday buffet

Editor’s note: Shellfish harvesting is one of Cortes Island’s largest employers. According to Paul Muskee, Klahoose Aquaculture probably employs ‘about 20 different people between Klahoose and Islanders.’ While Cortes Currents has not seen any recent numbers, Island Sea Farms employed 21 people when COVID broke out. Erik Lyon, President of the Bee Islets Growers Corporation, in Gorge Harbour, said there are about 10 lease holders in his organization. In previous articles, Rochelle has identified the Steve Pocock mentioned in the following article as both a Read Island grower and a Quadra Island grower. (These are not mutually exclusive statements.) Oysters are a significant local business on Quadra and Read Islands and there are numerous shore leases around all three Discovery Islands.

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

There are moments when Steve Pocock questions the wisdom of his chosen profession as a shellfish farmer.

Picking oysters off a beach in the dead of night during a low winter tide, then navigating whiteout conditions to get a loaded vessel home to port, while freezing and weary, is one of those times.

However, his disillusionment is short-lived when he hits mirrored waters at daybreak. Odds are he’ll also cross paths with orcas, bald eagles or sea lions during the morning commute.

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DFO ‘responds’ to shellfish growers concerns

On March 27 Cortes Currents published some of the concerns shared by many Cortes Island shellfish growers. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) did not have adequate time to respond, which it eventually did by email on April 6, 2023. Cortes Currents was hoping to secure an interview and sent DFO a list of topics to be covered. The most important was ‘the problems of liveaboards and recreational boaters coming too close to shellfish growing sites.’

Continue reading DFO ‘responds’ to shellfish growers concerns

Growers Perspective: Boats and Aquaculture in Gorge Harbour

On Monday March 6, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) closed the waters and intertidal foreshore of Deep Bay Harbour, on Vancouver Island, to oyster and scallop growers, due to ‘sanitary reasons.’ 

 Erik Lyon, owner operator of Rising Tide Shellfish on Cortes Island explained, “The problem is too many people  in too close a proximity to shellfish farms. You can’t have any shellfish destined for human consumption in  water where there’s any kind of a man-made dock, boat liveaboard or float house within 125 metres. That’s a setback that’s always been in place.” 

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The origins of Cortes Island’s Shellfish Industry

In the most recent of her interviews about Cortes History, Lynne Jordan, former President of the Cortes Island Museum, traces one of the Island’s foremost industries from its pre-contact beginnings up until recent times.  

Lynne Jordan: “ The First Nations cultivated clam gardens on this coast for 3,000 to 5,000 years, maybe even longer. One on Quadra Island was recently dated at being around 3,500 years old.”

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Environmental concerns about the Gorge Harbour log dump

When a large volume of logs were dumped in Gorge Harbour, during the 1970s and 80s, they caused extensive damage to the underwater environment.

One of the questions raised at Mosaic’s Cortes Island ZOOM meeting, last January, revolved around the possibility that reactivating the log dump could also have negative impacts. Mike Moore dove beneath the log dump about fifteen years ago. At that time, he observed a thick layer of wood debris and sediments, covered by ‘bacterial mats.’ Moore was concerned about the possibility a new disturbance of the sediments could pollute nearby shellfish operations. 

Continue reading Environmental concerns about the Gorge Harbour log dump